Service Schedule

Sundays 

Traditional Service 8:00 am

Sunday School 9:15 am (adult and children's options available)

Contemporary Blend 10:30 am (child care available)

Junior Church (K-5th Grade) 10:30 am

BYM Sr (8th thru 12th grade) - 6:00 pm

 

Wednesdays

Choir Practice 6:30 pm

Prayer Meeting 7:30 pm

Kidz Klub (age 4 thru 4th grade) - 6:30 pm

BYM Jr (5th thru 8th grade) - 6:30 pm

Men's and Ladies' Bible Studies - 6:30 pm

Directions

We are located at 155 Reedsville Road, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972

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If you need to contact us, please call our office at (570) 739-2241. For office hours, click here.

Wet Cement Theology

 A blog from Jeff Byerly at Bethesda EC Church

The world doesn't need another know-it-all theologian. My goal is simply to search the Scriptures, analyze current theological dicussions, respond to the events of the global, national, and local communities in which I live, and share my life incarnationally in order to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. As I do this please realize that I am wrong from time-to-time and more often than I think. :-) I am also naturally skeptical and often doubt convictions that are held tightly by many others. I invite you to dialogue with me in this same spirit--to explore how Jesus intersects with our world and to keep our sanity as we view this world from his kingdom perspective. 

LESSONS FROM BEING OFF THE GRID … THE AMERICAN CHURCH (PART I)

Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, August 23, 2013 @ 2:42 PM

Hello again. Sorry for the lapse in time as I was in the mysterious and bizarre land called India. All in all, the trip provided me with enough familiarity to keep me safe and healthy (especially food-wise). However, India provides so many unforgettable stimuli to every sense that only compares to Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole. Even the strange aromas call into question whether you will ever recover. Those who have traveled to India know of what I speak.

While in India, I was grateful to a wonderful host and guide named Lalrosiem. His personal nature and understandings of our Western ways made for a pleasant experience. His humble, gentle, and relaxed spirit helped us Americans to adjust and connect within the divergent culture of Northeast India. While in India, I had a few opportunities to teach at the seminary in Churachandpur and speak at five different local churches. Knowing this in advance, I had time to draft messages that would hopefully be relevant for Indian people listening to an American. I chose to deliver messages about the four marks of the church – the 1) one, 2) holy, 3) catholic, and 4) apostolic church as portrayed in the First Council of Constantinople in 381 AD.

As I prepared (or retooled these previous) messages, I used a common illustration about four distortions of the American church. My hope was that these images and the overall messages connected with the listeners through the translation of an interpreter. I can, however, express that I was also learning much in the course of my stay in India about American culture and the church – things I knew, but that became exaggerated because of my fresh setting. Here is the first new lesson of four overall lessons.

DISTORTION #1: CHURCH AS GAS STATION

THE ILLUSTRATION: In this distortion, I explained how the church was viewed by many as a filing station. People drive their cars day after day, until Sunday rolls around. Then they pull in for a spiritual fill up. Then off they go running their lives throughout the week until their gas tanks approach empty and they are eventually running on the fumes from the previous week. They pull in for another fill up.

THE LESSON: We as Americans view God and our connection with him as a superficial relationship to the point where God and his Spirit become commodities – products for our consumption. We as individuals become the larger part of the equation. Our need for gratification drives us to get more fuel. We are the center of our own little universe and we are very consumption-driven. We believe that we have a very visible control over the events of our lives. We make choices and carry them out with great ease. Nothing comes as challenging, allowing us to place God into the background of life.

THE BIGGER PROBLEM: We have compartmentalized our lives. God and spirituality is viewed as a resource that is obtained weekly Sunday after Sunday. Many diminish their connection to God into a one-hour worship service. They can whoop it up. They can feel energized. They leave clinging to hope, feeling fueled for the week to come. It is a good feeling, and it does provide energy for life, but …

Many of these lives can be defined by a simple pie chart … carving it into composite sections drawn from 168 hours/week – 1/3 for sleep, another 1/4 for work, and other fractioned sections for eating, recreation, relaxation, household duties, family time, traveling, shopping, etc. No matter the divisions, if you carve a section for God time, (no matter what percentage), then you have limited his influence in your life. God isn’t a fueling station – he is the God of the Universe and the Lord of your life. You better allow his influence into every compartment: work, travel, family, eating, recreation, even sleep – good and healthy rest is part of God economy for your life.

THE BIGGER SOLUTION: We need to view God in every facet of life. Romans 12:1 says: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Paul reminds us that worship is a sacrificed life that is set apart for God and pleasing to him. That includes my whole life – whenever I sit, walk, lie down or wake up (see Deuteronomy 6:7). My life is a testament to God’s goodness 24/7. My activities become God’s activities for he is with me in them. My life becomes an expression of forgiveness (past), gratitude (present), and hope (future).

Church is no longer a refueling station for connection with my God. Life is not compartmentalized. God is constantly fueling my life. My life is holistically an expression of worship to him. Yes, I can experience the ups and downs of life, but I don’t have to wait to be refueled – I am immediately refreshed knowing that he is now in whatever I am facing. It is him that I desire, not the “full” feeling of some event.

Next week, I will examine “The Church As Movie Theatre.”

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